Unwinding the Stop Reflex

Last week we introduced the idea of a simple home practice - and the idea that taking care of your joints and the tissues should be as much of a priority as brushing your teeth. Especially if we could find a way to deliver it that takes 10 to 15 minutes a day - interspersed with regular checking in (and getting up and moving around for at least 3 minutes of every waking hour).

The heart of our home practice is unwinding the three natural, full body reflex responses to the stressors of daily life - bringing balance and ease and, so, greater function. We'll focus on the Red Light Reflex this week - which primarily contracts the muscles of the front body.

It's also known as the stop reflex and is related to the fight or flight response, but it can be activated even in cases of mild stress - such as running late for an appointment - with all of the related bodily responses such as muscle tension and adrenal fatigue. Makes sense that you wouldn't want to stay stuck in that one for too long!

Muscularly you get a full body tension response that particularly effects the muscles of the front body - from the psoas and adductors in the legs, on and up through the torso, including the abdominal area and then the hunched shoulders and forward head position tend to be engaged too. The hunched shoulders leads to tight neck and shoulders and a tucked lower back - which puts pressure on your lumbar spine and pelvic floor. So Arch and Curl can be a valuable part of our daily unwinding routine. Remember that you don't have to lift your head.

So now you have a video for:

  • Arch and Release
  • Arch and Curl

There are three more to come. Remember, this blog has a myriad of other home practices and ideas spread through it too.

I loved Bettina's idea for a wrist stretch in the car. Our disclaimer is not while you are actually driving of course - but a great example of making self-care work out in the real world. If you'd like to send in any of your own ideas - along with a photo that you don't mind me posting, that would be great. Here is a volunteer enjoying an assisted quad stretch at the park, with Bart offering technical advice. 

For those who are really keen:

Each week in class we've been considering extra strengthening. Remember last week the block knee squeeze for core strength, and this week we are doing the monster walk for lateral hip strength. We'll be returning to these later in the term so great to get in some practice now so you'll be ready for the next level.

Also, standing well is the foundation of all the other aspects of healthy movement we are working towards. You can reflect back on this post for more information.